Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

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Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

Business News / Industry / Agriculture / Space crunch in cities? How rooftop farming is more than just a trend

Using Technology To Optimize Urban Farming

Space crunch in cities? How rooftop farming is more than just a trend 5 min read November 5, 2019, 07:49 AM IST Marianne Bray, Reuters

Research by ecological and agricultural experts shows rooftop farms not only produce food, but also create green spaces and boost biodiversity

Since 2008 more than 60 rooftop farms have sprouted around Hong Kong, covering 15,000 square meters. Photo:

At the top of a three-story building in Hong Kong, with car horns blasting on the streets below, Jim Fung teaches a dozen students how to thin out choi sum vegetables.

Rooftop Farming Is Getting Off The Ground

“Always use the resources you have,” the instructor said as he placed shredded office paper in soil-filled plastic crates and wound string around bamboo sticks to make support frames.

Fung is coaching the first cohort of students at an academy run by social enterprise Rooftop Republic to teach a new generation of urban farmers as demand for their skills soars.

The organization is leading a movement to transform Hong Kong’s empty rooftops and urban spaces into farms to help residents reconnect with nature and make the financial hub more vibrant.

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

Once a cluster of fishing and farming villages, Hong Kong is now one of the most densely packed cities on earth, with 7.4 million people living on a quarter of its 1,100 square km (425 square miles) of land.

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The rest are mainly country parks and rural areas, but living in skyscrapers and working long hours has caused Hong Kongers to lose touch with the nature around them, say students at the academy.

“We have separated ourselves from the history of the sea and the land that Hong Kong had,” said Jessica Cheng, a Rooftop Republic student who works for a philanthropic organization.

Andrew Tsui, one of the three co-founders of the Rooftop Republic, said he wants the academy to be “Le Cordon Bleu” (a famous cookery school) of urban farming.

For him, it means a place where graduates become masters of the practice and at the same time become “stewards of our planet, our well-being and our communities,” he said.

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It launched its academy in March, starting with events and workshops. The organization’s first urban farming course, which started last month, teaches students botany, organic farming and how to manage soil, pests, weeds and water resources.

Their classroom sits atop the headquarters of Hong Kong’s Business Environment Council, a non-profit promoting sustainability in the world’s second most expensive city for property after Monaco, according to global realtor Knight Frank.

Since 2008, more than 60 rooftop farms have sprouted up around Hong Kong, covering 15,000 square meters (161,460 square feet), said Mathew Pryor, who heads the University of Hong Kong’s landscape architecture department.

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

He estimates another six square kilometers (2.3 square miles) of roof space could be available – about half the size of Hong Kong’s airport and just less than the seven square kilometers (2.7 square miles) of agricultural land in the city.

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Hoping to expand this potential, Tsui told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that Rooftop Republic has been working with developers to include rooftop farms in their design plan.

One day, he predicted, roof farmers will be as necessary as facility managers who care for clubhouses and pools.

“We have the power to shape the future city we live in… by demonstrating how adopting an urban farm lifestyle helps the end consumer become aware of ecology, biodiversity, nature, well-being and a circular food system,” said Tsui.

At the 1,200-square-meter (13,000-square-foot) Sky Garden at Metroplaza Mall—the largest urban farm atop a retail mall in Hong Kong—residents can grow edible flowers and fruit trees while participating in lifestyle classes like Mindful gardening.

Green Gardens Sprouting From Vacant Lots. Urban Farmers Hope To Grow City’s Economy.

Research by ecological and agricultural experts shows rooftop farms not only produce food, but also create green spaces and boost biodiversity.

They also help reduce the so-called “heat island” effect in cities, when heat is trapped by dark-colored roads and buildings.

“Especially if it can be aligned with social issues, like aging-in-place,” he added, referring to when people have the opportunity to grow old in their own homes.

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

Access to a nearby rooftop farm can help the elderly engage with their community and keep them in good mental and physical health, he explained.

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In a study of 108 people who use rooftop farms, Prior found more than three-quarters of respondents said they saw social value as the most important benefit of working on the farms, with socializing topping the list.

“(My) students have no knowledge about food, where it comes from, how much plastic is in it,” she laments.

Along with the high costs and scarcity of space in Hong Kong, the main challenge for budding urban farmers is the right conditions, Tsui said.

The basics that plants need — natural sunlight, fresh water and fresh air — are often in short supply in the city, he added.

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“Our big question is, if many of our city spaces are not suitable for plants to survive, how are they conducive to people?” he asked.

With more than half the world’s population living in cities, Tsui said he is using what he has learned from rooftop farming to engage urban planners and shape a human-centric city.

He questions whether the move to so-called “smart cities” around the world is actually enabling city-goers to live smarter.

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

“Are we smarter in getting closer to nature for our health? Are we smarter in the way we design our neighborhoods, allowing access to fresh air, direct sunlight and nature?” he asked.

Urban Farming: Types, Process, And Benefits

Working with architects, planners and developers allows Rooftop Republic to incorporate some of these factors into the design for new developments.

But rooftop farms — which are legal in Hong Kong — currently exist in a gray area between formal city planning and informal community action, said Prior, the landscape architecture professor.

Both the city’s New Agricultural Policy Paper, published in 2014, and the Hong Kong 2030 Strategic Plan acknowledged rooftop farms as playing a significant part in urban agriculture. Government officials did not respond to interview requests.

Pryor would like to see the city’s government include such farms in mainstream building and land policy, in recognition of how important they are to creating sustainable cities.

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“We want to put nature and community back into where we play, where we work, where we live,” he said.

This story appeared from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the title has been changed.

Get all industry news, banking news and updates on LiveMint. Download the Mint News app to get daily market updates.

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Rooftop Garden.

You are now subscribed to our newsletters. In case you cannot find any email from our side, please check the spam folder. At Grand Hyatt Singapore, 30 percent of its herbs come from its rooftop garden. Photo: Grand Hyatt Singapore

Crushed egg shells, used coffee grounds and spoiled uncooked vegetables – such ingredients are repurposed as compost for the crops grown on one Farr Hotel’s rooftop farm.

Horticulturist Chin Ai Ling passes a box of mint leaves harvested from One Farrer Hotel’s urban farm to a chef to be used as ingredients. Photo: Chang Jun Liang

However, with the reduced demand in the hotel’s restaurants during the Covid-19 pandemic, the farm now covers a “significant proportion” of supply, says Mr Ammarudin Hadi, 30, assistant manager of marketing communications at One Farrer Hotel.

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Food-and-beverage businesses that run their own gardens or farm plots point out that in addition to helping to reduce food waste—because chefs can harvest what they need straight from their gardens—this has become all the more critical in light of the coronavirus pandemic. with concerns over a lack of or delay in product supply.

Chef Lucas Glanville, Grand Hyatt Singapore’s director of culinary operations, says: “We were able to reduce the food miles that we would have accumulated if we had sourced herbs from other farms that are mostly based outside of Singapore. Food miles are important for Us. The closer to home, the better.”

At the hotel, 30 percent of its herbs come from its rooftop garden. The garden is maintained with its in-house food-waste management plant, which converts 1,000 kg of food waste daily from the hotel into 500 kg of pathogen-free fertilizer in 24 hours.

Fire Insurance For Urban Farming And Rooftop Gardens

More than 20 herbs are available, including rosemary, thyme, oregano and Mexican tarragon. The herbs are used in its restaurants and bars – for Asian and Western cuisine, as well as

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